A new chief has been appointed to oversee a £700,000 revamp of a much-missed Lancaster music facility.
Anthony Dickens has been named the new project manager at the Lancaster Musicians' Co-Op.
Mr Dickens will preside over the repair and renovation of the Lodge Street premises which has been closed for several years.
The Musicians' Co-Op opened in 1985 and was previously a popular home for musicians to play, rehearse and record. Over the years the building has deteriorated to the point where it needs major structural repairs so the Co-op had to move out.
But the Co-Op team is now working on a new plan, with support and financial backing from Lancaster City Council and the government, to renovate the exterior of the 1 Lodge Street building and its internal facilities.
A tender process was due to begin and in May, the Co-Op team said they envisaged work would start on site in September, with a target date for completion by the end of March 2024.
Mr Dickens is a qualified architect and project manager with many years’ experience in the UK and overseas, including working with historic buildings.
“I’m thrilled to be working on this important project," he said.
"As a lover of live music and as a lifelong supporter of the local scene I, like many other Lancastrians, value the importance of the Music Co-op and what it provides for the wider community. I’m really excited to be joining the team that will bring this essential facility back to life."
Jayne McFadyen, from the Co-Op steering group, said: “We were really encouraged by the impressive number of strong applications that we received for this post and after a thorough selection process we were delighted to offer the role to Anthony.
"His many years of experience working in this sector, coupled with a genuine enthusiasm for the local music scene made him the perfect candidate.
“We can’t wait to get working on the next phase of the Music Coop’s redevelopment with Anthony at the helm."
In 2018 the city council, owners of the building, agreed to carry out repair work and to secure the Co-op’s future through a long-term lease but movement has been slow.
In March 2023 it was announced that the Lancaster Musicians' Co-Op had been granted £250,000 of funding from the government's community ownership fund and £50,000 of project management funding to help it get back on its feet.